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Aug 11

ENERGIZE! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities Conference

Wednesday, August 11 - Thursday, August 12

South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension will host a conference in August 2021 about rural communities, in a rural community — Milbank.

Conference Details

You are invited to join us for the third annual "Energize! Exploring Innovative Rural Communities" Conference in Milbank, S.D. This is a conference about rural communities held in a rural community – you won't want to miss it. Bring your walking shoes because you won't be sitting in a conference center! The conference begins with a light lunch and registration at 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 11, and concludes early Thursday afternoon with lunch in Milbank before you head home energized to lead your community to success!

Online Registration

Early registration price is open until July 2, the regular registration rate is $90. Registration deadline is July 30. Contact Peggy Schlechter, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Field Specialist or Kari O'Neill, SDSU Extension Community Vitality Program Manager for more information.


Amanda Brinkman is creator, producer and host of the hit series "Small Business Revolution," which streams on Hulu and was named among Inc. Magazine's top shows for entrepreneurs. In the inspirational reality show, Brinkman showcases her love for small towns by spearheading efforts to revitalize entire communities and providing makeovers to small businesses across America.

Breakout Sessions Featuring Rural COmmunity & Business Success stories

  • Uptown Revitalization
  • Funding Community Projects
  • Community Engagement
  • Supporting Local Business

And More! Many sessions to choose from, an evening of entertainment, lots of great food, information from resource providers and plenty of time for networking and exploring Milbank.

"Voices of the Next Generation" Entrepreneur Panel: Engage with young (and we mean young!) entrepreneurs currently operating successful businesses in South Dakota. Learn how you can support and encourage young entrepreneurs in your community.

Tentative Schedule:

Stop back later for a complete schedule of sessions, activities and locations!


If you are looking for a place to stay while you are attending the conference, here are some lodging options.

  • GrandStay Hotel & Suites, 1005 S. Dakota St., Milbank, SD, 605-438-5000
    *Please be sure to mention that you are attending the Energize conference to receive the special conference rate of $119; room block held until July 30, 2021. For more information please use this link.
  • Lantern Motel, 1010 S. Dakota St., Milbank, SD, 605-432-4591, For more information please use this link.
  • Manor Motel, 1105 E. 4th Ave., Milbank, SD, 605-432-4527. For more information please use this link, or on Facebook with this link
  • Super 8 Motel, 1205 East Highway 12, Milbank, SD, 605-432-9288
  • *Please be sure to call the number listed above and ask for the Energize block for a special conference rate. For more information please use this link.
  • The Abbey of the Hills, 46561 147th Street, Marvin, SD, 605-398-9200. For more information please use this link.
  • Hartford Beach State Park, 13672 Hartford Beach Road, Corona, SD, 605-432-6374. For more information please use this link.
  • Lake Farley Campground, Directly south of Lake Farley Park entrance on Highway 15. Intersection of Diggs Avenue & Highway 15, Milbank, SD. For reservations, call the City of Milbank – 605-432-9575. For more information please use this link.
  • Schmidt's Landing, 48140 Schmidt’s Road, Big Stone City, SD, 605-432-6911. For more information please use this link

When making your lodging reservations, let them know you are attending the Energize! Conference.


Thank you to our Platinum and Gold Sponsors! Because of their generous contributions, we are able to continue to facilitate an annual Energize conference for rural communities in a rural community.

Platinum Level

Gold Level